Comcast Business announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with the Washington Nationals to provide its Ethernet services in the ballpark.
The faster data services connects journalists, staff, and fans to the Internet services at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. The Nationals won the National League East’s pennant last year and are prohibitive favorites to do so again this season. With the team’s success on the diamond came an increase in fans and media. In order to keep those fans connected, including via Wi-Fi during games, the Nationals picked Comcast to upgrade its infrastructure.
"When we first opened the ballpark in March 2008, our fans were not utilizing our Wi-Fi network to the extent that they do now during an average game, which is why we needed to increase the bandwidth supporting our Internet service," said Jason Zachariah, chief technical officer for the Washington Nationals. "We are always looking for ways to enhance the ballpark experience for our guests, and we look forward to working with Comcast in the coming years to help us keep pace as our technology demands evolve."
In addition to the Wi-Fi service, the Nationals also needed more bandwidth for transferring data, photos and videos for its high-definition (HD) video scoreboard and FTP access for sending and receiving large files between offices. The Nationals organization also wanted to offer in-seat concession ordering via handheld devices from anywhere within the ballpark, but needed a new system to provision the service.
With an Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI) line from Comcast, which provides up to 1 Gigabit per second of speed, Nationals Park now has enough capacity to allow thousands of fans to order food and beverages via a website from their wireless devices.
The Ethernet line is also used as the backbone for all Internet traffic originating from the ballpark’s Wi-Fi network and supports the press box, as well as video and information feeds for its HD video board in right field.
"Today’s ballparks rely on technology much more than they did years ago, not only to accommodate the needs of their increasingly tech-savvy guests, but also to ensure the successful operation of the park," said Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business. "By delivering an advanced infrastructure that not only provides high amounts of bandwidth, but also offers the scalability to grow with the business as its needs change, Comcast is helping a number of baseball franchises like the Nationals achieve their goals, both on and off the field."
Last year in the American League, Comcast Business provided similar services to the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park.
Aided by the customer wins in its Ethernet product portfolio, Comcast Business Services generated $2.4 billion in revenue last year, which was an increase of 34 percent from the previous year. Comcast first launched its Metro Ethernet services in 2011.